Day Three’s not over!
After shopping in Shinjuku and Shibuya, I went to the Ghibli Museum, which I having been meaning to visit since I discovered it existed.
For those who don’t know – Studio Ghibli is the production studio that Hayao Miyazaki co-founded with his friend, Isao Takahata. Ghibli has produced Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service (my personal favorite), Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arrietty, and From Up on Poppy Hill, which I hear has been released in the US. Has anyone seen it? I’m not sure how well it would translate from a Japanese audience to a foreign one.
Anyway, they have a museum out in Mitaka, which is in Tokyo between the city center and Yokohama(-ish). Maybe museum isn’t quite the right word – they have a room about zoetropes, a re-creation of Miyazaki’s drawing studio, an exclusive short film, and a giant stuffed catbus for children to clamber on. If you go, go for the hand-drawn sketches in the drawing studio, the short film, and the building itself, which is adorable and full of Ghibli themed stained glass windows. Maybe the catbus if you have wee children.
The film changes four times a year, so it’s worth going back if you want to see Ghibli shorts that you’re unable to see anywhere else. Pictures are not allowed within the museum and you have to purchase tickets in advance. If you’re in the country, you can buy them from any Lawson convenience store. The museum website has an English version for overseas travelers. The museum has a gift shop which is…not worth it in my opinion. Go if you want a museum exclusive pin or t-shirt, or maybe something from the exclusive short films, but otherwise you’ll have better luck at any of the other Ghibli stores around the country. And you won’t get elbowed in the kidneys quite so many times.
Mostly, it was fun to see a whole building dedicated to Ghibli, along with a bunch of other Ghibli fans (don’t worry about being an adult at a kid’s museum, it’s definitely all ages oriented – my thirty-something male supervisor went last week, without a hint of embarrassment).